A number of auto insurance carriers adding real-time rating capabilities and other agent- and consumer-friendly enhancements have decided to give The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies a run for its money.
Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive, in business since 1937, says it was the first major car insurer in the world to introduce a Web site (1995), first to sell auto policies real-time online (1997) and first to give its customers online access and control of their policies via a customer service site (1998). In March of 2003, progressive.com's "rate ticker," an up-to-the-minute display of auto insurance rates available to consumers from Progressive, earned Fast Company magazine's "Fast 50 Champions of Innovation" ranking.
The California State Automobile Association (CSAA), San Francisco, followed suit in 2003 with the implementation of Steel Card's Web-based Apogee point-of-sale solution for its preferred and specialty auto products and its AAA Membership product. The Apogee solution is integrated with the CSAA Web site's "2-Minute Quote," which is driven by Apogee's online customer quoting tools. Steel Card, Santa Barbara, Calif., recently helped CSAA expand its program to support its full suite of insurance products.
American Hobbyist Insurance may not admit to "keeping up with Progressive," but it does have a plan to meet the growing needs of its burgeoning niche vehicle market. The Stuart, Fla.-based provider of collector-vehicle insurance recently began offering real-time online quoting and submission for agents.
"The collector-car market is sizzling right now," said Orlando Morales, agency manager, American Hobbyist. "Collector-vehicle owners have strong buying power. Values of collector cars, especially those from the 1950s and 1960s, continue to increase as Baby Boomers storm into the market."
When American Hobbyist agents submit an application online, they are notified instantly by e-mail if the risk was accepted, or if it needs underwriting review. The carrier offers 24-hour turnaround on underwriting decisions.
The American Hobbyist Web site also offers a free online quote engine for agency Web sites; online agent accounts; a one-page, no-contract licensing process for agents; printable forms and marketing support, including custom flyers, brochures, signs, and premium incentives for agents who sponsor or attend collector-car events.
Meanwhile, Kemper Auto and Home (KAH), Jacksonville, Fla., working with software provider Rackley Solutions, Windsor, Conn., launched a real-time connection allowing KAH's Connecticut agents access to auto rates through SETWrite, Rackley's Web-based rating product. With single-entry functionality, data entered to generate a rate is ready for submission as part of the policy writing process. Rackley counts Drive Insurance from Progressive, The Hartford, Penn National, Travelers among carriers currently using SETWrite, a Web application built on the Microsoft .NET framework.
Sources: Business Wire, Steel Card, Rackley Solutions, Progressive Group
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